MacArthur Foundation Walks the Walk with Launch of Digital Media and Learning Initiative

Kudos to the thought leaders at the MacArthMacArthur Foundation Walks the Walk with Launch of Digital Media and Learning Initiativeur Foundation who recently launched the $50 million Digital Media and Learning Initiative, focused on understanding how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize and participate in civic life.

What’s most impressive is that the Foundation’s communications strategy for launching the Initiative was designed to show what the initiative is doing, in addition to talking about it.
The multi-channel launch included the standard, in-person press conference, held in New York, plus two simultaneous virtual casts — a Web videocast of the live event and a Second Life events in New Media Consortium virtual campus. (that’s the image here, the Second Life participants viewing the live event).

According to nonprofit-use-of-tech-innovations blogger Beth Kanter, there were over 65 educators on the Second Life virtual campus, each represented by an avatar. "While the speakers were talking, the avatars in Second Life were carrying on a lively debate in chat about the points raised, suggesting questions to be asked in the room in New York City, and sharing resources related to the discussion at hand," reports Beth (who participated herself).

Talk about convergence. As participants joined the launch via Webcast and Second Life, real-life bloggers were blogging the in-person event. In addition, the Second Life gathering was projected to the participants at the live event. That’s multiple channel, multiple audience, reach anybody who’s interested where they get their information. At the same time, Beth and other bloggers live-blogged the event on Second Life.

Most relevant to your nonprofit communications effort, is the way in which MacArthur demonstrated its commitment to social media/networking as learning and communications tools, and its fluency in those tools, in the launch itself. Core communications maxim: It’s far more effective to show, rather than to tell.

MacArthur’s Press Release
Launch Coverage from a Second Life Perspective

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Nancy Schwartz on November 9, 2006 in Blogging for Nonprofits, Case Studies, Nonprofit Communications, Social Networking | 0 comments
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